The Bridge Kingdom by Danielle L. Jensen
Narrator: Lauren Fortgang, James Patrick Cronin
Series: The Bridge Kingdom #1
Publisher: Context Literary Agency, Audible Original
Publication Date: August 13, 2019
Format: Audiobook, eBook
Source: Audible Escape
Length: 11 hours and 52 minutes
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What if you fell in love with the one person you'd sworn to destroy?
Lara has only one thought for her husband on their wedding day: I will bring your kingdom to its knees. A princess trained from childhood to be a lethal spy, Lara knows that the Bridge Kingdom represents both legendary evil - and legendary promise. The only route through a storm-ravaged world, the Bridge Kingdom controls all trade and travel between lands, allowing its ruler to enrich himself and deprive his enemies, including Lara's homeland. So when she is sent as a bride under the guise of fulfilling a treaty of peace, Lara is prepared to do whatever it takes to fracture the defenses of the impenetrable Bridge Kingdom.
But as she infiltrates her new home - a lush paradise surrounded by tempest seas - and comes to know her new husband, Aren, Lara begins to question where the true evil resides. Around her, she sees a kingdom fighting for survival, and in Aren, a man fiercely protective of his people. As her mission drives her to deeper understanding of the fight to possess the bridge, Lara finds the simmering attraction between her and Aren impossible to ignore. Her goal nearly within reach, Lara will have to decide her own fate: Will she be the destroyer of a king or the savior of her people?
Lara and her sisters are princesses who are deadly. Their father is the King of Maridrina and has isolated his many daughters since they were five years old. He has had tutors and trainers at their desert compound teaching them to be assassins, seductresses, poison experts; you name it, they were taught. They’ve been tortured and they have murdered. Why? Because Maridrina has a treaty with the Bridge Kingdom of Ithicana. The two kingdoms have had peace for 15 years but at the end of that term (which is now) one of the princesses would travel to Ithicana to become the queen. King Silas of Maridrina plans on sending one of his daughters to spy on the king of Ithicana and his kingdom and send back information so that Maridrina could take the bridge and destroy Ithicana. Not only have Lara and her sisters become fighters, they’ve also been told their entire lives that Ithicana is a horrible place, the king is an ass who cares nothing for others, and that Ithicana has such a stranglehold on trade that the Maridrinians are starving.
The daughter that is chosen to be queen of Ithicana is Marylyn. Lara, however, believes that Marylyn is too kind and will be crushed by the cruel Ithicanian king. Lara takes matters into her own hands to ensure that she will be the one sent to Ithicana. This does happen and she is soon married to the Ithicanian King, Aren.
King Aren has no idea who/what his bride truly is. He believes Lara to be a scared mouse-like woman, even though he finds her beautiful. He secludes her in his house and moves on with his life. Despite Aren’s decision to stay away from his wife, he finds himself drawn to her. He truly wants the marriage to work and believes that with the treaty fulfilled that Ithicana and Maridrina can become allies.
With Aren occupied this gives Lara time to investigate and find secrets – she is constantly spying. She inadvertently learns secrets of the Bridge and how to infiltrate it. She learns other secrets about Ithicana as well and plans on sharing it all with her father. What she didn’t count on was learning that Aren was not a monster, the Ithicanians weren’t cruel, and the reason that the Maridrinians were starving was all her father’s fault. Lara’s world is turned upside down but Aren is there to catch her when she falls. They fall hard for each other but despite Lara’s best efforts to keep the information about Ithicana away from her father, he gets the message loud and clear.
I won’t tell anything else because it’s so good to have the story unfold and learn each bit little by little. I truly never expected to enjoy this book so much. I started listening to it in audiobook but it was going too slowly for my liking and I ended up reading the second half of it. When I finished book one I immediately wanted to start book two (even though it was already 11 at night), but it’s not available in ebook until September 2020. Ugh!! (I listened to the second book in audio the next day. :))
This story has so much going for it! There’s a huge cast of characters that you will fall in love with, and some you will hate. I loved watching Aren and Lara fall in love – they were so perfect for each other! On top of that there is adventure, deception, forgiveness and war. It’s so good, I can’t possibly describe it to you.
If you love a good fantasy with great characters then this is a book for you.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5